Do’s and Don'ts of Experiential Marketing

April 10, 2023

Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is a dynamic and effective way to create brand awareness and establish strong emotional connections with customers. Unlike traditional marketing where consumers are passive, experiential marketing is focused on actively engaging customers and giving them an opportunity to participate in brand experiences. This type of marketing strategy can involve live events, installations, product rollouts, webinars, and trade shows. This article is aimed at small business owners who want to create an exceptional experiential marketing plan.

Experiential marketing is effective because it allows businesses to connect with customers on an emotional level, leading to brand loyalty. When customers feel connected, they are more likely to buy from the business and become loyal customers. For instance, Lean Cuisine’s #WeighThis campaign allowed women to “weigh in” about something important about themselves other than their weight.

The responses were then collected and painted onto individual scales, which were displayed on a gallery wall in Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Responses ranged from “I care for 200 homeless children each day” to “I am back at college at 55 years old.” The brand then created a promo video that spoke to women about what they wrote and why. The important aspect of Lean Cuisine’s campaign was that at no time was anyone offered a Lean Cuisine product. The display was clearly branded with the company’s Twitter handle and the #WeighThis hashtag, but that was it – Lean Cuisine depended on the gallery wall itself to draw people in and created an interactive experience around the message that women are more than a number on the scale. The campaign collected more than 204 million impressions.

Here are five steps for planning an experiential marketing campaign:

1. Look at Your Customer Base

Before beginning any planning, it’s important to look at your current customer data to find out what kind of experiential marketing would resonate with your audience. This research might even give you insight into new markets. Consider customer segmentation to find those customers who best engage with your business.

2. Solidify Your Goals

What do you want to get out of this campaign? Find new customers? Promotion of a new product? Entrance into a new market? Once you solidify the ultimate goal, you can then start to prepare your campaign. The strategy must be centered on your intended audience and measurable. It is also important to define your brand at this stage. Understand exactly what you would like this experience to convey about your brand’s values and culture.

3. Identify KPIs

Prior to the campaign, it’s imperative to understand what success looks like. Look at your intended goals, find out how to best measure key performance indicators (KPIs) and find out what data you’d like to glean from customers during the campaign. Experiential marketing is a great method to obtain nuanced customer data and to solicit in-person feedback from participants.

4. Create a Budget

When planning for any new type of campaign, a marketing budget is necessary to ensure your return on investment, or ROI. This is especially true of experiential marketing, since it often includes more moving parts and goes beyond – but also works with – traditional marketing tools.

5. Implement a Cross-Channel Marketing Plan

Depending on your goals, your experiential marketing might be featured at a physical location. Remember that experiential marketing does not have to be one form of interaction. Your experience can be marketed, live streamed and tagged on social media. You can segment your audience to market to those who may be in the physical location, while still offering customers outside the area a way to engage with your brand, such as through email, text, or social media.

To ensure that your experiential marketing campaign is successful, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid:

Lack of Clear Goals

Without clear goals, your experiential marketing campaign may end up being a waste of time and resources. Before launching any campaign, it's important to define what you want to achieve and how you plan to measure success.

Not Understanding Your Audience

The success of any marketing campaign depends on how well you understand your target audience. Failing to understand their needs, preferences, and behaviors can result in a lackluster campaign that fails to engage your customers.

Poor Execution

Even the best-laid plans can fail if they are not executed properly. Ensure that your team has the necessary skills and resources to execute your experiential marketing campaign flawlessly.

Overlooking Post-Campaign Follow-Up

Experiential marketing campaigns are an opportunity to gather valuable customer feedback and data. Don't overlook the importance of following up with participants after the campaign to learn from their experiences and gather insights that can help you improve future campaigns.

Failing to Measure ROI

Without measuring your return on investment, it's impossible to know whether your experiential marketing campaign was successful. Determine the metrics you'll use to measure ROI before launching the campaign, and track them throughout to ensure you're getting the results you need.

By following these steps and avoiding common mistakes, small business owners can create effective experiential marketing campaigns that engage their customers, build brand loyalty, and drive sales.